EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Stricter junket regulations without impact on gaming revenues a key achievement – Paulo Martins Chan

The former Director of the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ), Paulo Martins Chan stated in an exclusive interview with Macau News Agency and Macau Business magazine that restructuring and imposing tighter regulations of the city’s junket industry without impacting gaming revenues was one of the achievements he is more proud of as head of the local gaming watchdog.

“For example, the regulation regarding junkets and the reduction in the number of junkets. There were 270 licenses then and there are 95 now. This reduction occurred without a great impact on the gaming sector. This effort is very difficult and we are trying to achieve a balance,” Chan told MNA.

Paulo Martins Chan requested to step down from his position as DICJ Director so that he could return to the Public Prosecutions Office, with Adriano Marques Ho replacing him in the position effective from June 10.

Mr. Chan’s tenure between 2015 and 2020 followed a steep decline in gross gaming revenues following the impact generated by a large-scale Chinese central govenrment corruption crackdown in VIP results.

Still, his term in office witnessed a tightening in the local gaming regulatory framework, especially concerning the requirements for local junket operations.

‘Not many people mention this, but a balance is very important because when you want to tighten the regulations, there usually is some sort of negative impact in the industry. However, we are bringing change in a very balanced way. As you know, starting in August 2016, our gross gaming revenue experienced a period of consecutive growth that lasted more than 20 months,’ Chan noted.

His office has also completed new legislation to better control the sector that has yet to be submitted to the Legislative Assembly for deliberation, but with Chan hinting that it will include a specific type of criminal offence concerning the illegal raising of funds by junkets.

The former DICJ head also referred to the high evaluation given to Macau by Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering in recent years as one of its most important achievements.

Last year the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) report on Macau was reviewed and approved by all members of the group with the SAR considered to have made good progress in addressing its anti-money laundering ‘deficiencies’, with the SAR becoming the first world jurisdiction to obtain positive ratings from the 40 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.

“I feel that for Macau, where gaming is the main economic activity, to have such a rating from the APG – which is an independent and very objective international organization – is very important,” Chan told MNA.

This year the Financial Intelligence Office (GIF) also announced that its director, Connie Chu Un I, has been appointed as Co-Chair of the Asia/Pacific Joint Group by International Anti-Money Laundering Organization

[Read the full exclusive interview with Paulo Martins Chan in the July edition of Macau Business magazine]